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Author Topic: Need sharp wide-open  (Read 7234 times)

DianeK

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Need sharp wide-open
« on: June 28, 2012, 07:39:04 PM »
I am having a challenge finding a lens in the 24-35 mm range that is sharp at its widest aperture.  I have a 60D and a 7D and I am looking for a lens for capturing family and friends indoors in both still and video.  I am not having any luck.  I have FoCal software so have been able to analyze lenses with it to confirm best aperture.  I had hopes for the new pancake but, despite all the wonderfully sharp images being posted at f/2.8, the copy I had was optimal at f/4.5-5.6.  Today, I just tried the new 24mm f/2.8 IS, and it is quite soft at 2.8 and FoCal is recommending 4.0-5.6 for sharpness which matches what I was seeing in my images.  So this too shall go back to the store.  Am I asking for something that does not exist?  Is there not a fast prime that is sharp at its widest aperture?  One of my other problems is that I don't have the steadiest of hands, so I think I really need image stabilization for spontaneous handheld people shooting.
Diane

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Need sharp wide-open
« on: June 28, 2012, 07:39:04 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 07:59:47 PM »
the 16-35 f2.8L IS II is sharp wide open

softens a bit in the corners on FF but on a crop it will be corner to corner sharp

also i dont own the 35 f1.4L yet but i'm going to get it soon its supposed to be a real winner

also i've heard really good things about the sigma 30 f1.4 DC for crop only if its even close to my siggy 85
then it will be mind blowing sharp much cheaper too
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DianeK

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 08:18:09 PM »
Thanks.  I suppose something that also has IS is a bit of a stretch, huh?
Diane

wickidwombat

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 08:27:30 PM »
Nah for your requirements I would go with the f1.4 lenses stopped down to f2 in that focal range for shooting swift beasts like kids you dont want your shutter speed much under 1/100th second anyway and even then you will most likely be getting subject blur IS wont give any real benefits in this regard

depends on budget really
if you can afford it the 35L is propably going to be the best (although i am only basing this on others experiences so far)
and the budget option for crop would be the sigma 30 I know lots of people that shoot both canon or nikon that love this lens

of course there is also the 24 f1.4L II if you want wider and more expensive
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 08:30:04 PM by wickidwombat »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 08:36:31 PM »
Just about every lens out there gets sharper when stopped down - that's especially true for wide angle lenses, which are more challenging to design. But, better quality lenses (= L-series) may be sharper wide open, especially in the center (which is where the APS-C sensor samples an EF image circle), than a cheaper lens stopped down.  Also, compared to an f/2.8 lens, the 24L or 35L would be stopped down 2 stops at the max aperture of the 24/2.8 or 40/2.8.

Don't really see why you need IS for spontaneous people shots at those focal lengths - remember, IS works by allowing a slower shutter speed.  Generally, you need around 1/60 s minimum to freeze the small, involuntary motions of subjects, even when they are posing.  1/60 s in the 24-35mm range, even x1.6 for APS-C, should be fast enough to overcome camera shake.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 08:43:03 PM »
Most lenses improve when stopped down.  Canon, in particular does not tend to have wide angle lenses that are extremely sharp at wide apertures. 
Its tough to make such a animal for reasonable prices.  if you are willing to spend $65K on a good cine lens, you might find something.  You can rent one along with a Canon adapter if you really need that performance.  They are rated in T stops, so they will seem to be a little slower, but aren't.
You should look for reasonably sharp from border to border, those that are exceedingly sharp in the center tend to be a compromise at the borders. 
If you manual focus, the Zeiss 21mm is impressive,   Even so, it gets sharper when stopped down.
 http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/470-zeiss_zf_21_28_5d?start=1
 
I'm not sure how deep your budget goes, but it gets very expensive for a tiny improvement, and if you are looking at $200 lenses like the 40mm pancake and expecting perfection, you are destined to be disappointed.
 

risc32

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:46:26 PM »
100% what the last two guys said. damn, i had a post ready to go and then i was beat to the punch.

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:46:26 PM »

Policar

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 09:01:24 PM »
Although the above is almost always true, there are a few exceptions...the new Leica cinema lenses, which are $150,000+ per set, are apparently as sharp as they get around t2 or t2.8.  No one's going to mount that on a dSLR, but their new Summicron (which is $8000, I think--so that's a little more reasonable, not that I could ever afford it) is f2 and apparently sharpest wide open--pretty incredible, and if their cinema lenses are that sharp, maybe they can match that performance in a still lens.

The sharpest (wide) lens I've used wide open is the 35mm f1.4 Samyang, which is extremely inexpensive but it flares a bit and has some mild CA and, like all other lenses at reasonable prices, isn't at its theoretical sharpest until an f4/f5.6 split (though the center is sharp by f2.8 almost).  It's useless to me for stills, though, due to its lack of autofocus.  The 35mm L is sharper in the center but softer toward the edges.

That said, even at 18''X12'', you'll never notice the difference induced by either spherical aberration (wide stops) or diffraction (stopped down) so long as you're shooting normally.  Technique is thousands of times more important at any normal stop.  The sharpest prints I've ever seen were shot on 4x5 film, often at f64, which limits theoretical megapixels for that format to like less than 20?  And the wall-sized (40''x50'' prints) were absolutely tack sharp.  So I wouldn't worry unless you're printing wall-sized photos.  A 100% crop represents an 80'' wide print on the 5D II or III and I can't tell the difference between f2.8 and f8 on a decent lens at 100%, even if software specifically designed to can.

If you must have sharp wide open, get a Leica M9 and the new Summicron, if you can afford the $15,000 investment.  But it seems silly when a D4 or 1DX will have significantly superior high ISO performance to negate the difference in practice.  What body do you have?  Maybe a 1DX or D4 or other low light monster is a better investment?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 09:04:18 PM by Policar »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 09:13:45 PM »
The TS-E 24mm II will carve your eyes out and serve them to you skewered through a rapier at any aperture. It's not exactly the best lens for shooting kids, though....

b&

DianeK

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 09:43:20 PM »
Thanks to all for chiming in here.  Back to the store tomorrow to review options (after reviewing bank account  :-\)
Diane

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 10:08:51 PM »
Chaaaaarrrrrggggge IT!

Thanks to all for chiming in here.  Back to the store tomorrow to review options (after reviewing bank account  :-\)
Diane

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 11:11:34 PM »
Thanks to all for chiming in here.  Back to the store tomorrow to review options (after reviewing bank account  :-\ )
Diane

Let us know if you find one you like, we are all alwas looking for something good and cheap.

bdunbar79

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2012, 11:15:12 PM »
The 24L is the clear winner here, if you want to pay for it.  A tilt-shift lens for indoor family stills and video?  Why?
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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2012, 11:15:12 PM »

darrellrhodesmiller

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2012, 11:39:15 PM »
i love my sigma 10-20mm lens.. i really want to like sigma's other lenses.. i am also hoping for a cheaper alternative to canon's 35mm L lens.. i've rented multiple copies of sigma's 30mm f1.4 and i want to like it.. i really do.. but the autofocus in low light is useless. and thats where i'd use such a lens. even a 35mm f1.8 i could live with.. at around 600-800.00 but i cant justify 1200.00 lens right now.

Zlatko

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 11:41:22 PM »
The 24L is the clear winner here, if you want to pay for it.  A tilt-shift lens for indoor family stills and video?  Why?
Yes!  I agree about the 24/1.4L version II ... a super outstanding lens even wide open, and more practical than the 24 tilt-shift.  It is a bit sharper than the 35/1.4L.  Of course it will be even sharper stopped down a bit.  It works very well on the 60D and 7D; I have used it on both.

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Re: Need sharp wide-open
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 11:41:22 PM »